"This applies to Ward 4 only"

My mother had the misfortune to be Sectioned for 7 months, which was spent on Ward 4 at SMH. Throughout her stay she was regarded as a problem to them, because of her challenging behaviour and severe distress. She was diagnosed with dementia and was sectioned because she was a risk to herself and others, so her behaviour was definitely challenging. However, the staff made sure we, her family, were aware of how much of a problem she was to them, suggested that "you wouldn't put an animal through this" - the distress she was experiencing. They also complained that we did not realise how distressing it was for them(!) to deal with her. All this compounded the distress we felt at witnessing our lovely mum being sectioned, confined to this ward and her distress. We appreciate that the confinement was necessary and we agreed to it, but the whole situation was handled with insensitivity by the staff, with little or no regard to our feelings, let alone our mother's distress, except for it's impact on them. Luckily, and with the help of a wonderful Community Psychiatric Nurse, we were able to ensure that her final months were spent in the loving care of a wonderful Nursing Home, where her distress was greatly reduced and she was never seen as a 'problem' to them. This was despite Ward 4 staff repeatedly saying that she would never be able to go a Nursing Home as "no-one would have her like this". Clearly untrue and added to our worry and distress. I have complained, received a letter attemtping to justify most of what was said and done, excusing some events due to 'lack of communication, and denying others. Hopefully lessons have been learned and no-one else will have to experience any more worry and distress than is unavoidable when a loved one is secioned.

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Response from St Martins Hospital (Bath)

Thank you for your comments. We treat every concern seriously and as a learning opportunity to improve and develop services and we are very sorry that this was your experience. Following you raising your initial concerns with us directly, adjustments to practice have been made to improve the standards of care we deliver. As you are aware, we continue to look at your concerns and we would very much like to meet with you. If this is something that you feel would be helpful to you please contact the PALS team on 01249 468261 or 0800 073 1778 and they can make these arrangements for you. Jo Collins - AWP PALS Manager

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